HARARE - The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC says Zanu PF is monopolising the National Heroes Acre by conferring hero status to its members only, yet there are other deserving individuals from society.
Speaking to the Daily News, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the ruling party has “bastardised” the meaning of national heroism.
“National hero status should not only be a preserve of politicians. It’s a really sad, complete and utter betrayal and negation of the revolution,” he said.
“It boggles the mind why iconic national figures such as the late Jairos Jiri . . . were not declared national heroes,” Gutu said.
He added: “Bluntly put, the Zanu PF dictatorship has trashed and bastardised the otherwise noble concept of national heroism. Right now, some undeserving (people) lie interred at the national shrine.”
“It’s not a secret that the Zanu PF regime has since degenerated into a ruthless, insensitive, incompetent and deeply corrupt one-man dictatorship.”
“It is (President Robert) Mugabe and not the Zanu PF politburo that is now conferring hero status on deceased Zanu PF politicians. Mugabe is Zanu PF and Zanu PF is Mugabe,” Gutu said.
His remarks come on the back of concerns that it was only Zanu PF politicians who are being given the right to be interred at the national shrine.
There have been complains about the failure by the Mugabe-led government to declare people such as Ndabaningi Sithole, Wilfred Mhanda and Lookout Masuku national heroes.
Last year, MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa said he regarded Sithole — the founding Zanu president — a national hero after he was denied the honour following a fallout with Mugabe.
Addressing about 1 000 supporters in Chipinge, Chamisa said an MDC government will correct the partisan conferment of national hero status.
Concerned people argue that the National Heroes Acre is supposed to be for all who have been extra-ordinary in their line of duty, including those that made huge sacrifices during the war against white-minority rule.
However, Mugabe has argued that the hero status is conferred to those dedicated to Zanu PF.
“Hero status will only be conferred on Zanu PF dedicated cadres committed to the country’s cause. Those who claim to want to be conferred hero status must construct their own shrines to bury their own heroes,” the 92-year-old leader said in 2012 during the burial of Zanu PF politburo member Kumbirai Kangai.
Last year, Mugabe was dragged to the High Court by Harare lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka and Alexio Musundire, challenging the decision of conferring his sister Sabina with a heroine status.
Meanwhile, the late Zanu PF’s former Mashonaland West governor, Peter Chanetsa, is set to be buried at the national shrine today.